Sample Cell Phone Contract for Kids and Parents

cell_phone_ear_holder.jpgA few days ago I posted an article called 7 Steps for Parents: Should Your Child Have a Cell Phone? and I mentioned putting together a cell phone contract.  I got a few emails asking what this would include.  I actually think that teen contracts or contracts between parents and kids are really helpful. I typed up one that is similar to what I had when I was younger and got my first cell phone.  Everyone’s contract will obviously be different because everyone has different plans and capabilities on their phones.

My parents and I discussed this entire contract and ‘negotiated’ what we both thought was fair.  I think this was an important part of the process because I felt like I had a say.  We made the rules together, and they told me they thought I was responsible enough to come up with my own rules (I actually came up with some of these myself–only to regret it later), but this made me feel heard and like I ‘owned’ my rules, they were not just given to me.

Vanessa’s Cell Phone Contract

Vanessa will be given a cell phone for her birthday and will be used with the discussed following rules:

_________All Contacts in the Phone Book must be approved by Mom or Dad
_________No Phone calls after 9pm weekdays, 10pm weekends unless they are to Mom and Dad, or pre-approved by us.
_________Our Plan allows maximum of 50 text messages a month.
_________No Cell Phone at any meal table or during family time (may ask permission if school related).
_________Web Surfing has been disabled.
_________If asked to turn off/stop playing/get off cell phone, must do so immediately.
_________When at home, will only use the regular phone instead of cell phone to make calls.
________When out with friends will always have cell phone with you and ‘on’ so mom and dad can reach you if needed.

If the following rules have not been met, we will have to implement the following discussed consequences:
________If you go over in texts, you must pay the difference (the phone company charges 10 cents per text)
________If you go over in minutes, you must pay the difference for that month, if it happens again, then hour usage will decrease (8pm weekdays, no cell phone on Sundays).
_________If asked more than twice to turn off/put down cell phone, or the phone is used during meal or family time, personal phone privileges will be removed for a day (only may be used to call mom and dad).
________This is a one-month trial period, if all rules are followed for thirty days, mom and dad will increase hours on weekends.
________This contract will be reevaluated every six months as Vanessa gets older to possible receive more texts, web surfing or extra money for ring tones etc.

Signed:

Date:

I only realize this now, my parents had built into the contract (they are lawyers) incentives for me to follow the rules.  There is nothing like a long list of rules to alienate you from your kid, but the last two parts of the contract say that if I follow the above rules well, I might get more privileges with the phone after 30 days and then again every 6 months.  This was great incentive for me to keep the rules, because I knew if I did, I would have less to follow soon.

Recap: *Be sure to discuss the rules before the contract, *Build in incentives, *Have a one-month trial period so they appreciate the privilege of having a phone.  *I like to actually sign and date my parent teen contracts, it makes it very official feeling.

Dream big, work hard and you will get there,

Vanessa

*This wonderfully gross cell phone picture is courtesy of Jokeroo

If you liked this article get more Radical Parenting in our new book: Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?

Tags: , , ,

  • http://www.shapingyouth.org Amy Jussel

    Almost identical to the media literacy hoops I had my teen jump through, although I didn’t add incentives. Brilliant one there…being in advertising, I shoulda/coulda done that! sheesh. Can we say ‘cobbler’s shoes?’ ;-)

    I’m testing some potential media literacy lab certifications that are fun, via ‘powers’ avatars can obtain in virtual world environs for Shaping Youth…would love to hear your thoughts on this, as our anecdotal research always defaults to ‘innovation for education…along with ‘keep it fun!’

    Amy Jussel
    Founder/Exec. Dir.
    http://www.shapingyouth.org

  • Pingback: Shaping Youth » The Value of Unstructured Play; Dr. Susan Linn On Tour

  • http://www.koolthings.com me

    i think this is dumb

  • Pingback: Cell Phone Bullying - An Issue « : kajeet

  • Elirida

    k vannessa ur parent are rreeeaallly strict!!!! i get up to at least 100 texts A DAY thats double wat u can hav in 2 months!!! And i dont even text in school just before after and on weekends. thats like 1 text per day how does that make sense??? why even hav text on your fone? And y do your parents have to approve your contacts? i hav 47 friends on my fone and the rest family. My parents dont know all my friends at school! i dont get y they wud hav to approve that. also about the “no calls after 10 pm on weekends” wat about sleepovrs??? do u no how many ppl we call late at night at sleepovrs its sooo much fun and not even prank calling just calling guys to talk to them or other girls to chat with. I dont understand y this girl would even want a cell if this many ristrictions are put on her those parents went a little overboard sufficating their child! holy crap! i would really hate to be their teenage daughter! (no offence) o i take that back offence to parents intended.

  • freeston

    ur mother is like strict to the max. u shud have gotten a job and bought ur own cell phone. cuz if u had bought ur own cell phone they cudnt have told u anything. but that is real ridiculous. i know they tryin to protect u but they have 2 let u go somehow. but anywayz that is like mad crazy. and i live in st croix which is the virgin islands. and suppose u recieve texts from people that u talk 2 which is over 50 texts wat wud they say. they cant tell u anything bcuz u receivin texts. u look REAAAAAAL pretty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and they probably dont want 2 let u go but that is ridiculous. if ur parents was my parents they wud like dont like me bcuz i wud have told them sumtin they wudnt like but anywayz later and happy birthday bcuz only now im seein it.

  • Silver Fang

    I agree with some of the rules, like not using the cell phone during dinner, church, theater, etc. But the 50 text limit would kill me.

  • IanH

    I think the rules are a great idea! It ensures that the teen uses the phone without abusing it. I also think parents who gives their teens ‘unlimited’ minutes or texts are not doing their kids any favors in the long run. These kids get used to getting those things for free and think it doesn’t cost anything. When they then have to earn for themselves and pay their own bills they have a rude awakening!

    We use prepaid phones to teach our kids about making their minutes last. We get them a set number of minutes each on their Tracfones and they can always buy more minutes with their own allowances if they want to. But they get the idea very clearly – this is not something they can use all day and night without consequences. It also meant we didn’t have to pay hundreds of dollars recently when our eldest lost his phone. We just bought another for under 20 bucks.

  • K

    I am sooooooo glad my kids are not like Elirida and freeston.

  • http://mobilecontract.users.weaselmail.co.uk contract man

    I dont really think kids need a cell phone. How old were you when you got your first mobile phone!? Do you ever think you could do with a rest from it but cant incase anything *important* comes up.

    Then theres whether its spoiling them. Not to mention possible health issues

  • erin

    this is a horrible set of rules….the 50 text limit would kill me

  • Pingback: Cell Phone Contract With Your Kids « Noodle On This…

  • Pingback: Cell Phone Sleuth

  • Pingback: Contracts and Parenting | Radical Parenting

  • http://benjiyork.com Benji York

    The thing I like about this contract is the consequences are spelled out in advance.

    Regarding cell phones, if you live in a multi-cell-phone family, you might like textmyfamily.com. It lets you send one text message and everyone in your family will get it. And if they reply everyone else will see that too.

  • Pingback: 40 Steps Ahead | Redland Counseling